‘End of Game’ opens on Eve visiting Niko in hospital, only to be told to “piss off forever,” before deliberating with Kenny’s ex-colleagues over the murder attempt, which she is adamant was not Villanelle and connects to Dasha, whom she pays a visit. Speaking of, Villanelle, having severed all ties to her biological family in the previous episode, seems to turn her attention to Konstantin and Irina as family. She turns up to Irina’s hockey match, inadvertently supporting the opposing team, and tells Konstantin she wants to “leave” with him and his daughter. Jodie Comer and Yuli Lagondinsky share a lot of screen time and seem to bond in a way that would be heartwarming if it weren’t for the shady organisation that brought them into one another’s lives. We also get a glimpse of Carolyn bonding with her daughter while neither of them fully trust each other, and discussing Kenny’s paternity with Konstantin (who, spoiler alert: maybe his father). Steve Pemberton’s character is also fleshed out, breaking into Konstantin’s apartment and revealing that, just as Carolyn suspected, he is connected to The Twelve. Villanelle’s character is also developed, and we see her injured while carrying out a hit before breaking down and telling Dasha she wants out before the episode ends on Irina running over her stepfather (following Villanelle’s advice to kill him) in a shocking twist.
Villanelle’s newfound vulnerability and desire for something more is heartbreaking to watch, as are the stoic reactions of both Konstantin and Dasha. Family has been a prominent theme in season three, and Villanelle’s interest in one is growing. This, combined with seeing her badly injured by a target, are reminders that she is fallible, and less in control of her life than she might like to think. Her interactions with Irina are funny and touching; they both clearly care for one another, and Comer and Lagodinksy have excellent chemistry (although letting a fourteen-year-old drive may not be one of Villanelle’s best decisions – not that it probably ranks among her worst either). The connection she has with Konstantin has also been built up masterfully over the past two seasons to come to a head now, with Villanelle choosing him over her luxurious life (and possibly Eve, too).
Much as most characters are written well, Eve feels criminally underutilised. She is present in three scenes this episode, having been absent in the previous one. Her dialogue is stripped-back in favour of stoic silences and stares. Sandra Oh’s range was not properly showcased in this episode, and the lack of Eve at the expense of developing new side characters poses an issue.
This episode addresses a lot of questions Killing Eve fans have had since the first season. In fact, it feels like an episode written for people who are very invested in the show, beginning to tie up loose threads from across all three seasons. Krissie Ducker finally addresses what seems to be a concrete end to Eve and Niko’s relationship (Niko, having survived Dasha’s murder attempt, wants nothing more to do with his ex-wife), Kenny’s parentage, and Konstantin’s relationship with his daughter Irina, who has been a fan-favourite since her first appearance. It also exposes a far more vulnerable side to Villanelle, who tries to find a way out of her current life as an assassin. While the editing is slightly sloppy (albeit amusing), the storytelling is superb.